Situation Report EEPA HORN No. 168 – 14 June 2021

Horn Situation

Europe External Programme with Africa is a Belgium-based Centre of Expertise with in-depth knowledge, publications, and networks, specialised in issues of peacebuilding, refugee protection, and resilience in the Horn of Africa. EEPA has published extensively on issues related to the movement and/or human trafficking of refugees in the Horn of Africa and on the Central Mediterranean Route. It cooperates with a wide network of universities, research organizations, civil society, and experts from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, and across Africa. The situation reports can be found here.

Reported situation in Tigray (per 13 June)

  • Reported that Ethiopian and Eritrean forces have bombed Menji and Guyya villages near the town of Abi-Adi Tembien, using cluster bombs and white Phosphorus, a chemical weapon.
  • The attack killed at least 2 children and a mother, 13 civilians and 34 domestic animals.
  • Telecommunication services are cut, now and victims of the attack have started to arrive at health facilities in Mekelle, was confirmed by a doctor of Ayder hospital.
  • The Telegraph previously reported on horrific attacks with white phosphorus leaving victims gravely burned.
  • Fierce fighting was reported between Tigray defense forces and ENDF allied forces in the Central and Eastern zones of Tigray.
  • Reported that Eritrean defense forces have left the towns of Adi Daero, Adi Hageray and Adi Goshu in North western Tigray.
  • They are relocating to Mayhanse, Hitsats, Edaga Hibret and Asgede Tsimbla areas. This looks to be a major rearrangement for a new offensive.
  • Hayalu Godefay, chairperson of a Tigray opposition party, Salsay Weyane Tigray has joined Tigray Defense Forces.
  • Reportedly IDPs sheltering on the campuses of Axum and Shire Universities have been told to evacuate. They have not been given a reason.
  • Pictures circulate on social media showing storage of chemicals (white Phosphorus).
  • Pictures in social media also show heavy weapons sent to Tigray being loaded onto commercial planes and not military planes (which is prohibited).

Reported Situation in Ethiopia (per 13 June)

  • The OLF says that they have been fighting Eritrean soldiers. Some of those soldiers allegedly burned a house of nine families in West Wallaga.
  • According to the Ethiopian Insider, armed rebels killed 27 security personnel in West Oromia.

Reported Situation in the Horn region (per 13 June)

  • The Somali Prime minister has established a committee to investigate the complaints of parents who say they have not heard anything from their children who have been sent to Eritrea for military training and deployed in Tigray, without knowledge of approval of the parents.
  • Egypt denounced in a letter sent to the president of the UNSC, Addis Ababa’s plan to move ahead unilaterally with the second filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in July, a step that is expected to affect the downstream countries’ water security.
  • The 95-page letter included an overview of the decade-old negotiations between Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia as well as how the latest round, which was held under the brokerage of the African Union (AU), faltered due to Addis Ababa’s intransigence, says the report.
  • Egypt’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sameh Shoukry, has accused Ethiopia of obstructing efforts to reach an agreement on the latter’s controversial dam.
  • Shoukry also said that Addis Ababa has no real political will to reach an agreement with the two downstream countries, namely Egypt and Sudan.
  • “Egypt firmly rejects conducting the second filling before reaching an agreement, and in the event that it occurs, there will be political measures that protect the interests of the downstream countries,” he said, “Both Egypt and Sudan will resort to all available means to preserve their water interest.”
  • Shoukry added that “all options are available” in the Ethiopian dam crisis after evaluating the developments of the situation, following all developments in detail, and in coordination with Sudan.
  • He explained that Egyptian state institutions monitor and deal with every action taken by Ethiopia with precision and consideration for the interest of the Egyptian people.
  • An urgent meeting of the Arab region’s Ministers of Foreign Affairs will be held, on Tuesday, in the Qatari capital, Doha, in efforts to address the GERD issue, upon the request of Cairo and Khartoum.
  • The Nile for Peace Initiative called for the need to reach a legally-binding agreement that preserves the water rights of Egypt, Sudan, and Ethiopia in the Nile over the GERD filing and operation policies.

International situation (per 13 June)

  • The G7 released a statement which included a section on Tigray. It stated that it condemns the ongoing violence, and that all Eritrean must withdraw from Tigray, calling for an inclusive political dialogue in Ethiopia to foster national reconciliation and consensus in the future.
  • EU Council President Michel says that Tigray was on top of the agenda of G7 today and that 7 months of conflict, atrocities, ethnic-based violence, human rights and IHL violations are leading thousands of innocent people to one of the worst man-made famines ever. The G7 calls on the entirety of the international community to act.
  • Prior to the G7, the Ethiopian Minister of Foreign affairs, Demeke Mekonnen, published a statement denying that hunger was being used as a weapon or war in Tigray.
  • He accused humanitarian organisations of smuggling weapons, thus requiring checks to stop this.
  • Pope Francis prayed for the people in Tigray today. He said humanitarian needs to be allowed into Tigray. He also called for an end to the fighting in Tigray. He said that he was thinking of the people in Tigray who were “struck by a grave humanitarian crisis that has exposed the poorest to famine. Today there is famine! There is hunger!”
  • United States President Joe Biden has approved the deployment of the United States armed forces to Kenya with the aim of helping Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) troops fight the Al Shabaab militia group.
  • The US Department of State has released a statement on the upcoming election in Ethiopia. It urges the Ethiopian government to conduct an “inclusive, post-election political dialogue to determine a path forward to strengthen the country’s democracy and national unity.”
  • The US State Department is calling for “All political actors and community leaders to seek to resolve grievances through negotiation, dialogue, and recognized non-violent dispute resolution mechanisms.”
  • Many Ethiopian opposition politicians have been detained and media have been harassed. It mentions concern about the ethnic violence and the “partisan” activities by local and regional authorities.
  • Africa Confidential reports on the changing position of UAE “to moderate support to Addis Ababa”.
  • Demonstration on Tigray  will be held at NATO HeadQuarter in Brussels on 14 June at 14:00 hours.

Disclaimer: All information in this situation report is presented as a fluid update report, as to the best knowledge and understanding of the authors at the moment of publication. EEPA does not claim that the information is correct but verifies to the best of ability within the circumstances. The publication is weighed on the basis of interest to understand the potential impacts of events (or perceptions of these) on the situation. Check all information against updates and other media. EEPA does not take responsibility for the use of the information or the impact thereof. All information reported originates from third parties and the content of all reported and linked information remains the sole responsibility of these third parties. Report to info@eepa.be any additional information and corrections.

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